President Wyatt sent an email on Monday, February 28th to update campus about the college’s mask policy, altering the policy once more since his February 18 email. On February 18th, President Wyatt sent an email to relay what the college’s COVID-OPS team decided regarding the mask policy. Illinois Gov. Pritzker announced his plan to end the mask mandate in Illinois on February 9th, with the plan aiming to end the mandate by February 28th. In response, Monmouth College had to revisit its mask policies to decide what was in the best interest of student life and student safety alike. The adjusted policy announced on February 18th was a modified version of the original policy.
The original policy required masks nearly any time students were indoors. Monmouth’s Safety Practices page listed the following places masks were required: “common workspaces, hallways, elevators, dining facilities, restrooms, breakrooms, meeting rooms, residence halls, College vehicles, and while in class indoors.” The modified COVID-19 policy on Monmouth College’s website said that masks would be required in: “classrooms, laboratories, and studios during instructional times, during operating hours of the Trotter Fitness Center, Huff Athletic Center training room, COVID-19 testing center, and the Student Health Clinic.”
President Wyatt wrote in his February 28th email that “last Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it has changed its guidelines regarding masking, now basing its guidelines regarding indoor masking on numbers of COVID-related hospitalizations and hospital capacity, in addition to new cases. The CDC’s guidelines suggest that indoor masking is no longer called for in areas of low and medium risk based on these criteria. Warren County is an area of medium risk. At its meeting this morning, the COVID-OPS group decided that the College will follow the new CDC guidelines, effective Saturday, March 5. The group felt holding current policy in place for the remainder of this week before Spring Break provides time for transition. Following the new CDC guidelines means that masks will not be required in any public space on campus […].”
Beginning March 5th, masks will not be required in any “public” spaces on campus, meaning that only the COVID test center, Student Health Clinic and athletic training facilities will require masks to be worn. This change is a significant change from the previous modified policy, and the guidelines were not altered until after spring break for students.